Dom Casmurro Chapter 63


I became anxious for Saturday to come. Till then I was persecuted by dreams, even when awake. I shall not tell them here to avoid prolonging this part of the book. I’ll mention just one, and as briefly as possible or, rather, it will be two because one grew out of the other – if indeed they do not form two halves of a single dream. All this is obscure, lady reader, but the fault is with your sex, which thus perturbed the adolescence of a poor seminarist. If it were not for this fact, my book would perhaps be a simple parish sermon if I had become a priest, a pastoral if I had become a bishop or an encyclical if I had become Pope, as Uncle Cosme had urged. ‘Off you go, my lad. Come back as Pope.’ Ah, why did I not accomplish that ambition? After Napoleon, lieutenant and emperor, in this century all destinies are possible.

As for the dream, it was this. As I was busy spying on the young beaux of the neighbourhood, I saw one of them conversing with my love from beneath her window. I ran over there, and he fled. I went up to Capitu, but she was not alone; her father was beside her, wiping his eyes and staring at a useless lottery ticket. Since this was not at all obvious to me, I was about to ask for an explanation when he gave me one of his own accord: the young beau had just brought him a list of the prize-winning numbers, and the ticket had come out a blank. He had number 4004. He told me that this symmetry of figures was mysterious and beautiful, and probably the wheel had broken down; it was impossible that it should not have won the grand prize. While he was speaking, Capitu was giving me all the prizes in the world, great and small, with her eyes. The greatest of these, of course, should have been given with her mouth. And now we arrive at the second part of the dream. Pádua disappeared, along with his hopes for the lottery ticket, while Capitu leaned out the window. I glanced up and down the street; it was deserted. I took her hands, mumbled something or other and woke up alone in my dormitory.

The significance of what you have just read is not in the matter of the dream but in the efforts I made to get back to sleep and return to the dream once more. You cannot imagine the energy and persistence I expended in closing my eyes and keeping them tight shut, expelling everything from my mind in order to fall asleep. But I did not succeed. My efforts ensured that I did not sleep till dawn. Around then I succeeded in coaxing sleep, but neither young beaux, nor lottery tickets, nor great or small prizes came to bother me. I dreamed no more that night, and I was poor at my lessons the next day.